Rebel Youth offers pan-Canadian Socialist perspectives on the youth and student movement across Canada and internationally.
Produced by the Young Communist League of Canada, we publish in print edition three times a year. To subscribe click here.
Our sister magazine in French is Jeunesse Militante.
Read the media that fights back. Because there is no time like now to organize!
A brief history of our magazine
Our magazine adopted the name Rebel Youth in the early 1980s, but it had many lives and incarnations before that time as explained below. This is a short time-line of our magazine.
Our magazine was created as the Young Worker when an organization called the Young Communist League of Canada was founded in 1923, as the Young Workers League. At that time, the War Measures Act, banning Communist and other radical organizations in Canada, was still in effect -- despite the First World War having ending five years before.
Our offices were raided, entire issues seized, sellers were given a hard time and even jailed. But fortunately, the RCMP and the intelligence division of the Ministry of Labour kept detailed archives! You can read some of those early issues here:
Working on a Leninist principle of organization, the YCL almost always published a newspaper or magazine. While the name and frequency of publication changed, the press was an important YCL activity.
Despite illegality and repression, our magazine grew. By the late 1920s, The Young Worker was supplemented by a children's publication produced by youth and children with a circulation of more than 4,000.
With the special economic crisis of capitalism in the 1930s the Young Worker became a monthly publication, under the editorial guide of Stanley Ryerson in 1932 and then John Boyd. During Boyd's time as editor the paper changed into a new weekly called Advance.
With the dangerous rise of fascism, the Advance called out for a united front of communists and social democrats. The YCL worked closely with some local Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) youth organizations through groups like the Canadian Youth Congress. Advance was proposed to not be an explicitly Communist publication, but the CCF youth were not interested.
Advance was quickly replaced by New Advance, edited by Robert Laxer, and then a more successful magazine in the early 1940s called Challenge was launched with a campaign to broaden its appeal to young people.Challenge was published into the late 1950s. This was a hard time for our youth movement newspaper, but after two or three years, a new editorial team came together to make a publication they called Scan in the early 1960s.
Scan's editorial team wound-up to let others step forward and create a broadsheet publication, returning to the name The Young Worker, around 1968. The broadsheet form had less success than a magazine so the Young Worker changed formats and was then renamed New Horizons (later Horizons) in the late 1970s. The title came from a speech by Tim Buck about the struggle of youth, but this name was also short-lived, replaced by Rebel Youth around 1983.
Rebel Youth was, at that time, an expression of the moment -- punk music, the arms race, Ronald Regan, and the massive movement against total nuclear war. But it also payed homage to the Cuban revolution and the publication of the Communist Youth of Cuba, Juventud Rebelde.
The late 1980s were a tough period with a lot of debate being held in the pages of Rebel Youth and in the YCL. In the early 1990s, with the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union, the magazine folded up. It wasn't until 2004 a year after the YCL had begun re-organizing, that a magazine of its type re-appeared. It seemed natural to take up the name Rebel Youth and pick up where we left off.
Almost a decade has passed since then, and we have produced about two or three issues a year. The magazine was initially in a small print-run format and developed to be on a full newspaper press. In 2012, we added colour to the magazine. RY continues to work hard a shoestring budget to present a socialist and pro-communist point of view, a window on the youth and student movement today.
Left, the cover of the first new issue of RY from 2004.